I wrote recently about how important it is for me to raise my children to not be judgmental of other people or their life choices. Today I’m discussing another facet of compassion that grabs my heart and squeezes .
I was walking my dog, Milo, in a field near our house, when another dog came out of the trees and trotted over to us. I was nervous at first because I didn’t know if this dog was aggressive, but it turns out he just wanted to say hi to Milo. This dog was skinny, and had a few cysts under his skin like old dogs get, but otherwise appeared healthy. No collar, although the hair around his neck was indented like he’d had a collar recently. He trotted behind us nearly all the way back to my house, but then meandered between two houses and disappeared. When he didn’t respond to my calls, I got the impression he was deaf. I ran in my house to get food and water and came back out, calling, “Puppy! Puppy!”
Then I hear my neighbor. “Oh, you’re trying to catch him too? I saw him on my way home from Target. I tried to call him, but he won’t come to me.” She was also putting a bowl of water on her porch, and informed me she’d taken a photo of him with her phone and put it on the neighborhood website.
We never caught him or saw him again. My heart breaks knowing he could’ve spent the night out in the cold. Hungry. Tired. Scared.
Yet, I’m left feeling touched by the length people will go to help someone/something in need. It got my mind going down a little trail, remembering how a little boy and his dad came by the house the other day collecting canned goods for the needy. It was cold out with a howling wind, yet they walked, door-to-door, determined. I practically emptied my pantry for them.
Then I recalled the holidays, how our district’s elementary schools adopt thousands of angels to collect toys for so they have gifts to open Christmas morning. I went up to our school to drop something off one day, and saw the hallway lined with bikes purchased by families for the children. Not to mention the bags upon bags upon bags of toys and clothes. It was prettier than any Christmas tree I’ve ever seen.
Our city has a family services pantry, where dozens of shelves are filled with donated foods and basic necessitates for the less fortunate in our area. What an incredible resource for people who need a helping hand. I’m so proud of my town.
These are just drops in an ocean of compassion I know exists around the world. People helping people and animals and the environment. THIS is what it’s all about. Helping others is part of being human. Compassion is imperative to the health of the planet and its inhabitants.
You don’t have to do it all. You don’t have to be Mother Freaking Teresa. All you have to do is care. If you see something that hurts your heart, do something to help, no matter how big or little. That’s all. You never know who could be watching and learning from your actions. Let compassion spread like a gorgeous, lush ivy.
To borrow my favorite quote:
Be the change you want to see in the world
1000 Voices Speak for Compassion was sparked by the incomparable, incredible Lizzi, whose heart is as big as the moon.
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